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Source: First Union

Tomorrow’s Budget should aim to support working people during the cost of living crisis by committing to boost benefits, extend universal public services like half-price public transport fares, and to properly fund Fair Pay Agreements. This should be supported by a fairer tax system, according to FIRST Union.
“Inflation has peaked, but the Reserve Bank is still gunning for another 74,000 unemployed in the next two years. Unemployment benefits remain unfairly punitive, while the cost of essentials like housing, food and energy have risen sharply in the past year,” said Edward Miller, FIRST Union researcher and policy analyst.
“This will likely require the Government to tap in to other sources of revenue. The wealthiest New Zealanders are currently paying less than half the tax rate of everyone else, while corporate profits have surged in the last two years.”
“We’d like to see the Government take tax fairness and reform seriously ahead of a possible third term, exploring options like higher corporate and windfall profit taxes, a capital gains tax and a crackdown on tax avoidance by predatory multinationals.”
“Elsewhere, committing funds to support the first ever Fair Pay Agreement for bus drivers is important in this Budget, as the parties move towards negotiation.”
“Prime Minister Hipkins has already extended half-price public transport fares, so it would be great to see a continuation and expansion of fare reductions in this Budget, to promote low-emission transport while reducing the cost for users – it’s a no-brainer.”
“A Government seeking a third term must demonstrate that they are still raising the standard for the poorest and most vulnerable New Zealanders while having the willingness to take on systemic issues like tax evasion and unproductive investment at the top.”